By K.N. Pandita
Up-swell in Kashmir militancy is neither sudden nor unexpected. Hindsight shows that intermittent warnings had been flowing from civilian as well as military sources for some time. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister both, too, have been concerned about continuance of terror structure along the LoC in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Only recently, GOC-in-C Northern Command, Lt. Gen. Parnaik said that 300 to 400 trained and armed jihadis were concentrated in secret and ever-shifting terrorist training camps in PoK. e HeH He also disclosed that these jihadis had acquired very advanced communication equipment and sophisticated weaponry.
We are aware that jihadis had made renewed bids of infiltrating into our side of the LoC despite many casualties inflicted on them by our agile troops guarding the LoC. Of late, Pakistan army has adopted new tactics of opening heavy mortar fire on our frontline posts at vulnerable points like Krishna Ghati in Poonch sector to provide cover to the infiltrating terrorists when they found that Indian army foiled their several bids of sneaking in the darkness of the night. Notwithstanding changed strategies of counter infiltration, some of the jihadis might have managed to escape the vigil of our troops on the border. It is a long and porous border.
Pakistan-based jihadi groups like LeT and HM never make secret of their anti-India designs in Kashmir. They warned they would seek the revenge of execution of Afzal Guru. In Mankote in Mendhar sector, jihadis disguised as Pakistani regulars, trespassed into our territory, killed two soldiers patrolling the post, and, in the fashion of barbarians, severed the head of one of them. Islamabad denied its responsibility of violating Geneva Convention. In recent days, we find resurgence of Kashmir insurgency with its epicenter in the capitals city of Srinagar and its peripheries. On 22 June militants, claiming to be the operatives of Hizbul Mujahideen, gunned down two policemen on duty in a busy market place at Hari Singh High Street in the heart of Srinagar city. Two days later, Kashmir insurgents struck in a big way by ambushing a military vehicle carrying personnel to their post of duty in Budgam. Two heavily armed militants first shot dead the driver of the vehicle and then opened a volley of fire on the troops seated inside the vehicle, killing eight soldiers and wounding 11 others. It was a blitzkrieg type of attack in which terrorists are given highly professionalized training. The assailants managed to escape from the site of incident.
Some among Kashmir watchers are of opinion that escalation of insurgency is an expression of resentment against the proposed visit of the Prime Minister and Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi to Srinagar in connection with the inauguration of the railway tunnel linking Banihal with Qazigund. They vitalize their argument by referring to the strike call given by Hurriyat (G) leader Ali Shah Geelani as expression of protest against PM’s visit. To link accelerated activity of the jihadis with Prime Minister’s visit is only a far-fetched idea. It emanates from sources that usually manipulate and distort reports of ground situation in Kashmir to please their gullible benefactors in New Delhi. The hard fact is that insurgency is intact in Kashmir whether a VVIP visits the valley or not. VIPs, whosoever they be, are not the concern of militants. Those who matter for them are the masses of Kashmiri people. Their priority is not to endanger the lives of visiting Indian dignitaries; their priority is that the people of the valley have to be instilled with the vision of the might of Islamic jihad, and thus coerce them into submitting to its diktat. They are not just the minions of ISI as we usually believe: they think of themselves as the legions (ghazis/fidayeen) of Islamic jihad worldwide aiming at establishing the Islamic Caliphate from the Dardanelles to the Straits of Malacca, for which the agenda has been chalked out by leading jihadi organizations of Pakistan. Considered from that perspective, the demand of full or partial pull out of Indian army from J&K or withdrawing of its special powers is tantamount to unwittingly lending support to the fantasia of the Islamic Caliphate. The crux of Islamic resurgence in various parts of the world in contemporary times is in reality, the long standing strife between the diehards of the faith and the harbingers of reform.
There is no option to standing up squarely against the menace. India is a mighty democracy. It has the potential of resisting the diktat of anything that is anti-thesis of democracy. Insurgency is to be matched with a language which the insurgents understand. If security forces need more powers for effectively countering insurgency, there should be no second thought in conceding the demand. Let the might of the Indian State prevail if and when challenged. Renewed challenge of militancy shows that its network is intact, underground and pervasive. It has to be contained. Kashmir has been saved and defended by making glorious sacrifices. We owe a debt of lasting gratitude to the martyrs, soldiers and civilians, who laid down their lives in Kashmir for maintaining the sovereignty and integrity of the naion.